Research shows where and how the brain chooses words

Recent research finds the place in the brain that governs our ability to choose the correct word during speech, and another study watches the brain as it considers the meaning of two similar words before it hears the final, discriminating syllable.

When speaking, a person must select one word from a competing set of words.  This research shows that the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG)  is necessary for resolving the competition for choosing the correct word. The LIFG includes Broca’s area, responsible for aspects of speech production, language processing and language comprehension.

And this study finds that our brains automatically consider many possible words and their meanings before we’ve even heard the final sound of the word. Previous theories proposed that listeners can only keep pace with the rapid rate of spoken language by anticipating a small subset of all familiar words. This subset consists of all words that begin with the same sounds, such as “candle”, “candy,” and “cantaloupe.” That makes the task of understanding the specific word more efficient. Scientists are using an MRI scanner  to actually see this split-second brain activity.

Source: e! science news


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